Italian giants Juventus have dominated Serie A in recent times. A measure of that control can be taken from the stats. The Old Lady have won Italy’s top flight no less than 35 times. That’s a competition record. Of those 35, eight have been collected in the last eight seasons, between 2012 and 2019.

Many believed Juve would never release that stranglehold. The board plough money into the playing and coaching staff, attracting some of the biggest names in European football to Turin. Current manager Maurizio Sarri can call upon the services of Cristiano Ronaldo, Aaron Ramsey and Gonzalo Higuain. No more needs said on the matter.

Board have splashed the cash

The champions and superstars of Italy do appear to have a challenge on their hands this season, however, and that comes in the form of Inter. Internazionale haven’t won the league title since 2010 – a drought by their standards – but they are pushing Juventus close this season. After 22 games of the campaign, Juventus sat in pole position with 54 points on the board, their stats showing 17 wins, three draws and two defeats. Inter could be found snapping away at their heels, just one place and three points off the pace, their stats reading 15-6-1.

What is behind the sudden turnaround in form from a side that finished fourth of 20 last term, ending way off the standard of Juventus? Recruitment has been key, improving the squad and bringing in talented players with a real hunger to make a name for themselves in this league. One name who fits that bill is flying Dane Christian Eriksen who signed from London club Tottenham Hotspur – last season’s Champions League runners up – earlier this year for a contract free of 10m euros per season. Eriksen can add much to the team and fans will be hoping its money well spent. That move alone proves the board at the San Siro aren’t afraid to splash the cash.

They also have experience in their ranks, including defender Diego Godin and Ashley Young. These men have proven their bottle and character in big football games across Europe already. They provide a cool head in the dressing room, but they are no less hungry to win major titles. These types of players perfectly compliment the young stars coming through. In attack Lazio are spoiled for choice. They have proven goal scorers in Lautaro Martinez and former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian who was once one of the most sought-after players in the world. The Martinez and Lukaku partnership in itself is enough to strike fear into any opposition.

Bookies predict a close race

What do major bookmakers think of it all? Will Juventus hold firm or will Inter’s investments pay off come the end of the season? We will have to wait and see but there’s little doubt the challengers have the champion’s full attention at present. Odds makers have had their say and the race is so tight that the odds are very similar, for example 888 football betting site offers Juventus as 2/5 favourites to keep their crown against Inter Milan second favourites at 3/1.

Other names in the frame for this season’s Serie A title, according to the latest betting, include Lazio at 5/1 third favourites. There’s then a sizeable gap to the likes of Atalanta, Roma, Napoli and AC Milan. Plenty to keep followers of the Serie A and sports bettors interested between now and the final day of the season. Neutrals will hope Inter can maintain their challenge.